Chutzpah: Palestinians Prepare List of Demands For Biden Administration

The Palestinian Arabs sense an opening for them in Biden’s Washington, where they rightly assume they will be personae gratae again. They have already been preparing their laundry list of demands for the Biden Administration, which is discussed here: “PA wants Biden to reverse ‘anti-Palestinian’ decisions,” by Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post, November 22, 2020:

The Palestinians will demand that the new administration under US President-elect Joe Biden cancel “anti-Palestinian” decisions taken by the administration of President Donald Trump, Palestinian officials said on Sunday.

The officials told The Jerusalem Post that the Palestinian Authority has prepared a list of demands that will be presented to Biden after he is sworn in on January 20.

The list includes a request to reopen the PLO diplomatic mission in Washington, rescinding Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, resuming financial aid to the PA and the UN Relief and Work Agency and reopening the US consulate in east Jerusalem.

In addition, the officials said, the Palestinians will also demand the Biden administration cancel the recent decision that allows US citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their place of birth, as well as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement allowing for settlement products to be labeled as “Made in Israel.”

“We have already contacted Biden’s people to inform them of our demands,” a Palestinian official told the Post. “We had a positive dialogue with senior officials who are close to Biden.”

Since that contact between the Palestinians with Biden’s staff, the two most pro-Israel of Biden’s advisers, Tony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, have been appointed to be, respectively, Secretary of State and National Security Adviser. It may not be quite as smooth sailing for the PA as it thought just a few days ago.

Last week, PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki said the Palestinians want to conduct dialogue with the new US administration in order to cancel decisions taken by the Trump administration.

Malki said the Palestinians have suffered tremendously as a result of Trump’s decisions directed against them, including the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the closure of the PLO mission in the US and the suspension of US financial aid to the Palestinians.

Malki and other Palestinian officials said they also expected the Biden administration to distance itself from Trump’s plan for Middle East peace, also known as the “Deal of the Century.” The Palestinian leadership has strongly condemned the plan, unveiled in January 2020, as a “conspiracy aiming to liquidate the Palestinian issue and national rights.”

Another Palestinian official told the Post that while he was optimistic the Biden administration would cancel some of the decisions taken by the Trump administration, the Palestinians do not believe it would be easy to return the US Embassy to Tel Aviv.

No, it won’t be easy to move the Embassy back to Tel Aviv. It will be impossible. There is not a chance in hell that the American Embassy will be moved out of Jerusalem. Biden has already declared that he would not do it, though he also added that he “would not have made the move himself,” a curious remark given that he was one of the most enthusiastic backers of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which passed in the Senate by 93 to 5.

“We know that the Biden administration would not be able to accept all our demands, such as the removal of the embassy from Jerusalem, but we are very optimistic regarding the other demands,” the official explained. “If [Biden] renounces the ‘Deal of the Century’ and resumes financial aid to the Palestinians, this will be a good step in the right direction. It will be a big victory for the Palestinian people.”

The suspension of financial aid to the Palestinians was partly in response to the PA’s refusal to end its Pay-For-Slay program, which incentivizes terrorism by providing generous monthly stipends to imprisoned terrorists, and to the families of terrorists who had been killed. The PA has been recently been making noises about modifying the plan, by providing stipends based not, as now, on the length of a sentence, which provide more money the longer the sentence (so those who commit the worst attacks get more money), but instead on the “financial need” of a terrorist’s family. Qadri Abu Bakr, the PLO’s Director for Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, in English told the New York Times that the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) policy on terrorists’ families’ salaries will change. But in the Arabic version of those remarks, Qadri Abu Bakr said the exact opposite, assuring his listeners that the calculation of stipends to terrorists and their families would not change in any way. Two versions, directly contradicting each other. Why not? Qadri Abu Bakr knows: “War is deceit,” said Muhammad.

It is thus doubtful that the PA could bring itself to change its Pay-For-Slay policy, which reflects the Palestinians’ visceral support for terrorism. But even if the PA did change the criteria according to which the stipends are calculated, this would still leave in place a program that subsidizes, and therefore incentivizes, terrorism. This will make it very difficult for the Americans to turn on the faucet of aid again.

The PA’s complacent assumption that the Americans will renew financial aid to the Palestinians needs to be challenged and undermined. Even without the Pay-For-Slay program, why should the Americans turn on that tap for the PA, rather than have the PA go hat in hand to their fellow Arabs in the oil states, or Iran, or Turkey, and ask them for aid? Who decided that the United States owes the Palestinians a permanent living? And why should American taxpayers be shelling out billions, over the years, to UNRWA, which includes on its ever-expanding rolls of those who receive its largesse not just the real Palestinian refugees, those who left in 1947-1949, of whom there may now be 30,000 still alive – but also all of their descendants, now amounting to more than five million people? Who decided that among the many tens of millions of refugees who have been created by conflicts – wars, civil wars, persecutions — all over the world since the late 1940s, only one group, the Palestinians, should be allowed to pass on the refugee status to their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so on, world without end?

This ever-lengthening list of “Palestinian refugees” has been on the international – almost entirely Western – dole for decades. Don’t we need to ask a few questions at this point? For example, why are we Americans expected to give hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the Palestinians instead of, say, to the inoffensive and much poorer people in Bolivia or the Congo or Nepal? What exactly have the Palestinians done for us? Haven’t they used terror as a weapon for a half-century? Didn’t we see the Palestinians hand out candies and celebrate when they heard the glad news on 9/11/2001? Haven’t Palestinian terrorists killed American citizens? Isn’t Hamas a local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, that seeks a worldwide caliphate? And what about the links between the Palestinians and our mortal enemy, Iran?

According to the official, the Palestinians are also expecting the Biden administration to return to the long-standing US policy toward settlements and adhere to UN resolutions on this issue.

In November 2019, Pompeo announced that the US no longer views settlements as “inconsistent with international law,” a move that drew strong condemnation from the Palestinian leadership.

Secretary Pompeo had quite properly declared as a break with previous policy what ought to have been American policy all along. The Israeli settlements in the West Bank do not violate, and are not “inconsistent with” international law. Their legality stems from the Mandate for Palestine, that included the entire West Bank in the territories assigned to the future Jewish National Home. Previous administrations had relied on the “Hansell Memorandum” of 1978, which took the position that the settlements were “illegal,” but Hansell himself never mentions the Palestine Mandate In his memorandum, as if it were of little moment, when it is, in fact, the essential document for understanding Israel’s claim to the West Bank, and hence, the basis of Israel’s right to build settlements in that territory.

COLUMN BY

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Biden names ‘Palestinian’ who justified jihad suicide bombings as deputy director of Office of Legislative Affairs

Not a good sign for future U.S. relations with Israel. But this is also a sign of how topsy-turvy the world is today. Biden wouldn’t be caught dead naming someone who had noted that Islam is not a religion of peace to any position at all in his administration. Such a person would be poison to the Democrats and to most Republicans. But demonize Israel and justify murder of civilians? Welcome aboard!

“Reema Dodin to be first Palestinian-American White House staffer,” by Tzvi Joffre, Jerusalem Post, November 24, 2020:

Reema Dodin, a Palestinian-American, will serve alongside Shuwanza Goff as a deputy director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, President-elect Joe Biden announced on Monday. Dodin will be the first Palestinian-American to serve as a White House staffer, according to Palestinian media.

The new White House staffer was born to Jordanian-Palestinian immigrants in the US. Dodin’s family is originally from Dura, near Hebron, according to Palestinian media.

Dodin served as deputy chief of staff to Democratic Senator Richard Durbin and has also served on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, among other positions.

She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is also a Truman National Security Fellow, a New Leaders Council Fellow, an Aspen Socrates alum, a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the Jenkins Hill Society – a consortium of women in politics supporting female politicians.

During the Second Intifada, in 2002, Dodin spoke about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with residents of Lodi, California, saying that “suicide bombers were the last resort of a desperate people,” according to the Lodi News-Sentinel.

In 2001, Dodin took part in a demonstration at UC Berkeley calling for the university to divest from Israel, according to the Berkeley Daily Planet, a local news publication. The demonstrators compared Israel to apartheid South Africa….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

US terror database classifies 9/11 jihadis as ‘White/Caucasian non-Hispanic,’ 9/11 victims as killed by whites

Remember this the next time you hear a government or media talking head declare that government studies show that “white supremacist,” “right-wing” violence is the greatest threat America faces today.

“Study: Obama’s TEVUS crime database hides BLM, ANTIFA violence and inflates white, right-wing violence,” by Brad Johnson, American Military News, November 17, 2020:

Terrorism and Extremist Violence in the United States (TEVUS) is a US government-funded database that tabulates violent attacks in the United States. Used by the US government and media alike, it is one of the fundamental sources of information about who is conducting violent attacks in the United States. TEVUS reporting appears to set out to cover up Islamic, Arab, Black Nationalist, and Left-Wing terrorism and extremist violence and attempts to document white and right-wing violence where little to no violence actually exists.

Much of the information about the existence of right-wing violence does in fact come from the responsible agency, which in this case is the Department of Homeland Security via TEVUS. The latest annual Homeland Threat Assessment published in October 2020 by DHS director Chad Wolf, stated:  “That is why we design our programs to be threat agnostic – ensuring that we can combat a broad range of domestic threats. However, I am particularly concerned about white supremacist violent extremists who have been exceptionally lethal in their abhorrent, targeted attacks in recent years.”

TEVUS is a compilation of four open-source terror and extremism-related databases:

  1. The American Terrorism Study, led by researchers at the Terrorism Research Center at the University of Arkansas
  2. The Global Terrorism Database, led by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism housed at the University of Maryland
  3. The US Extremist Crime Database, compiled by researchers located at Michigan State University, John Jay College, Indiana University – Purdue University, Indianapolis, and Seattle University.
  4. Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism in the US.

TEVUS uses their reporting and simply excludes many violent acts if they were perpetrated by non-whites — or worse, outright lies about the races of the individuals conducting violent acts. In a blatant display of data manipulation, the exclusively Arab 9/11 hijackers who murdered nearly 3,000 innocent people were categorized by TEVUS as “White/Caucasian non-Hispanic” and as a result, TEVUS is able to attribute all of those killed in 9/11 to whites. This is by far the largest source of deaths attributed to acts of violence by whites and wildly throws off the actual statistics to make white right-wing violence appear common. TEVUS reports there are 39 court cases which they characterize as right-wing, yet there is only one reference of any kind to terrorism in any of these court cases and that was a single instance where the attacker referred to his target as a ‘terrorist’ and a ‘suicide bomber.’

TEVUS systematically covers up the violence associated with black nationalist groups such as Black Lives Matter (BLM), even though BLM activists and supporters have allegedly killed at least 11 police officers and wounded nine since 2014 — none of that information is included. TEVUS also systematically excludes left-wing violence and does not contain a single reference to ANTIFA, for example, a group that is routinely violent and openly promotes violence….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

2020 Post-U.S. Election Update: Objective — That every legal vote, and only legal votes, are counted.

Occasionally I am asked about why there have been more political articles in our Energy and Environmental Newsletter. Good question!  Briefly the answers are:

  1.  As American citizens we value our rights and freedoms — and those are determined by politics.
  2. Energy and Environmental policies (our focus) are also determined by politics.
  3. As with most topics, what you see in the mainstream media is selective coverage, from an undeclared political perspective. Our articles are trying to put some balance to those.

We have one objective regarding the 2020 U.S. election: That every legal vote, and only legal votes, are counted.

[If you personally witnessed a violation of either of these in any swing state, and are willing to sign an affidavit to that effect, please email me.]

Here is a cross-section of sample articles that explain some of the details of what is going on regarding the unresolved US Presidential election:

US Elections — The Bigger Picture:

Who really won, Biden or Trump?

Are we going to let defeatism beat us?

The End Game

Election Fallout Reveals Battle Between Freedom and Communism

Remaining Passive not an Option for Patriots

Democrats And Media Are Reaping Fruit Of 4 Years Of Anti-Trump Conspiracies

Where did Trump make election gains?

US Elections — Chicanery:

Short video: Some Simple, Albeit Brutally Obvious, Questions…

Evidence of National Chicanery During America’s 2020 Presidential Election

Election Outcome Unclear Amid Pending Recounts and Legal Challenges

Data Analysts: Stolen Votes Confirmed By Voters Themselves

Short video: Sidney Powell – Massive Election Fraud” is Provable

Short video: Glen Beck interviews Sidney Powell

US Elections — Pennsylvania Issues:

Excuse Me While I Call BS: In Pennsylvania

PA Results Show a Statistically Impossible Pattern Behind Biden’s Steal!

A Statistical Analysis Shows 300,000± PA Biden Votes Are Questionable

In sworn statement, prominent mathematician flags up to 100,000 PA ballots

Dominion Transferring Vote Ratios between Precincts in PA

US Elections — Other State Specific Issues:

Biden Texas Campaign Director Arrested For Electoral Fraud

Elections Security Expert Finds Michigan Results a Fraud

Affidavit: 60K+ Michigan Ballots Dropped Off At 4:30am, No Down Ticket Voting

Detroit election board Republicans rescind votes certifying results

US Politics and Socialism:

Globalist Technocrats Poised to Press the Great Reset Button

The Great Reset is not a conspiracy theory

Five Things to Brace for under Biden

Parler Free Speech Social Network

UN Announces Biometric Digital ID Wallet

Thank you for your interest in, and support of, American democratic principles.

Note 1: We recommend reading the Newsletter on your computer, not your phone, as some documents (e.g. PDFs) are much easier to read on a large computer screen… We’ve tried to use common fonts, etc. to minimize display issues.
Note 2: To accommodate numerous requests received about prior articles, we’ve put together detailed archives — where you can search by year, or over the ten plus years of the Newsletter. For a detailed background about the Newsletter, please read this.
Note 3: See this extensive list of reasonable books on climate change. As a parallel effort, we have also put together a list of some good books related to industrial wind energy. Both topics are also extensively covered on WiseEnergy.org.
Note 4: If at any time you’d like to be added to (or taken off) this free distribution, simply send me an email saying that.
Note 5: I am not an attorney or a physician, so no material appearing in any of the Newsletters (or the WiseEnergy.org website) should be construed as giving legal or medical advice. My recommendation has always been: consult a competent, licensed attorney when you are involved with legal issues, and consult a competent physician regarding medical issues.

©John Droz, Jr., Ph.D. All rights reserved.

ISIS Terrorist Released by Feds in Oregon Town after Grand Jury Indictment

An ISIS terrorist indicted by a federal grand jury for providing material support to the militant Islamist group has been released by federal authorities in Oregon. Even for the famously liberal west coast it may seem unbelievable, especially since a Republican appointee heads the Department of Justice (DOJ), the agency that made the bizarre decision. The defendant is Hawazen Sameer Mothafar, a 31-year-old U.S. resident charged with two counts of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization and one count of providing and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2339B(a)(1). Mothafar has also been charged with making false statements—denying his terrorist ties—in an immigration application and one count of false statement to a government agency.

Since 2015 up until his arrest just days ago Mothafar conspired with ISIS, according to the nine-page indictment issued this month. He produced and distributed ISIS propaganda and recruiting materials created and edited in coordination with the terrorist group’s official media operatives overseas. This includes the production, editing and distribution of many publications and articles in a pro-ISIS online media organization. Among his writings is a piece titled “Effective Stabbing Techniques,” which provides detailed guidance on the best way to kill and maim a target during a knife attack. Mothafar also published a tutorial in an Arabic publication titled “How Does a Detonator Work,” that explains in detail the use of explosive ignition devices. The same issue of the Arabic edition includes info graphics containing a picture of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Statute of Liberty in New York on fire with a caption indicating that they will soon be attacked. Another one of Mothafar’s propagandas encourages readers to carry out attacks in their home countries if traveling overseas to fight is not possible.

Most of Mothafar’s work has appeared in a terrorist online media conglomerate known as Al Dura’a al Sunni or Sunni Shield that circulates pro-ISIS propaganda in writing, via videos and graphics. Mothafar also moderated private chat groups for the jihadist media outlet and had regular contact with ISIS leaders overseas, according to federal prosecutors. Evidently, he served as the tech trouble shooter, providing high-level jihadists with technical support that includes opening social media and electronic mail accounts for official use. A senior ISIS official in custody in Iraq told investigators that it was Mothafar’s job to provide ISIS “new accounts when we needed new accounts as soon as possible,” the indictment states. In December 2019, Mothafar tried to acquire information involving piloting a drone carrying an object for Saleck Ould Cheikh Mohamedou, an Islamic extremist convicted for trying to assassinate Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the former president of the northwest African nation of Mauritania. Mohamedou is currently incarcerated there for the failed attempt.

While Mothafar was busy furthering terrorist missions in his adopted land, he repeatedly lied in U.S. immigration documents and to federal officials by denying ties to terrorist organizations. “This defendant is a legal permanent resident of the United States who abandoned the country that took him in and instead pledged allegiance to ISIS and repeatedly and diligently promoted its violent objectives,” said Oregon’s top federal prosecutor, Billy J. Williams, in a statement released by the agency. “Our national security prosecutors and law enforcement partners will continue to ensure that those who threaten our country are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” The special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Oregon said Mothafar was a leading figure in the Islamic State’s media network who tried to incite “lone actor” operators globally. “When it comes to cases like this one, a computer and a keyboard can be powerful weapons against enemies of the Islamic State,” the special agent, Renn Cannon, added.

Mothafar pleaded not guilty during a recent court hearing and is scheduled to be tried early next year. Federal authorities released him to his home in Troutdale, a town of about 16,000 on the eastern edge of Portland, pending trial with restrictions on travel and use of electronic devices. They should have kept him in custody considering the severity of the charges. They did not because he “has physical disabilities and is confined to a wheelchair,” according to the DOJ, so the government did not seek detention.

EDITORS NOTE: This Judicial Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

California: Muslim stabbed four ‘in the name of Allah,’ planned to read Qur’an until cops arrived, then shoot them

The Qur’an? Didn’t Faisal Mohammad know that, as Pope Francis has told us, “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence”?

Despite the fact that Mohammad “was found to have an image of the ISIS flag, a handwritten manifesto with instructions on how to behead someone, and reminders to pray to Allah,” everyone who participated was sure that his stabbings had something to do with “images of masculinity” and nothing to do with Islam, and that only “Islamophobes” thought otherwise. This is no surprise. The University of California Merced is no different from any other campus all over the country: full of indoctrinated bots who have been thoroughly imbued with the notion that when Islamic jihadists attack us, it is our fault.

“FBI releases 2015 attack plan of radicalized California university student who stabbed 4 on campus,” Associated Press, November 18, 2020 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

MERCED, Calif. – A troubled California university freshman who burst into a classroom in 2015, stabbing four people before police shot him dead, planned to praise Allah while slitting the throats of classmates and use a gun taken from an ambushed officer to kill more, according to records released by the FBI.

Authorities determined that Faisal Mohammad, an 18-year-old freshman at the University of California, Merced had no connections to organized hate or terror groups and no past behavior to suggest violence.

Still, records released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the Daily Beast publication include a chilling, handwritten 31-step plan for the Nov. 4 attack with names of people to target.

The plan included putting on a balaclava at 7:45 a.m. and saying “in the name of Allah” before stepping into his classroom and ordering students to use zip-ties he provided to bind their hands.

Mohammad also planned to make a fake 911 distress call to report a suicidal guy [sic; this is how they write at AP these days] and wait for police outside the classroom before ambushing from behind “and slit calmly yet forcefully one of the officers with guns.”

He planned to take a gun from an officer and kill classmates before making another fake distress call to 911 to report the shootings. Step 26 was to read the Quran until he heard sirens, and then “take calm shot after shot” with the gun as authorities arrive….

…investigators said the perpetrators were influenced by the Islamic State group, but not directly connected to it. Families in both cases said they had no clue of their relatives’ radicalization.

Of course not!

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Trump is Right: Our Exit from Afghanistan is Long Overdue

President Trump is withdrawing a significant number of troops from Afghanistan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is livid. According to AP, McConnell “warned against a potentially ‘humiliating’ pullout from Afghanistan that he said would be worse than President Barack Obama’s 2011 withdrawal from Iraq and reminiscent of the U.S. departure from Saigon in 1975.” Not to be outdone, Rep. Michael McCaul, Republican leader on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, insisted: “We need to ensure a residual force is maintained for the foreseeable future to protect U.S. national and homeland security interests and to help secure peace for Afghanistan.” But McConnell and McCaul are advocating for a failed policy. It is long past time to leave Afghanistan.

In his State of the Union address on February 5, 2019, President Trump stated: “As a candidate for President, I pledged a new approach. Great nations do not fight endless wars.” Epitomizing the need to do this was what happened when Trump first moved to end America’s longest endless war, the war in Afghanistan, with a treaty with the group that the U.S. entered Afghanistan in order to topple, the Taliban, in February 2020. The ink was still fresh on the signed document when the Taliban launched a new attack against Afghan government forces, killing twenty Afghan soldiers and police officers.

The attack was a fitting symbol of the fruitlessness of these endless wars and the bankruptcy of the assumptions and policies that had led to their being waged.

After all these years, we have little to show for all our efforts in the nation that has been ominously dubbed the “graveyard of empires.” The U.S. has sacrificed the lives of numerous heroic service members and squandered trillions for nearly two decades in the fond hope that it could remake Afghanistan into a stable, Western-style republic that would respect the human rights of all its citizens. That’s still the plan, as far as the architects of our intervention are concerned: One foreign policy establishment wonk counseled patience, saying that Afghanistan “is not going to become Switzerland overnight,” a fact that is as obvious as Joe Biden’s dementia.

Great. So we know now after almost twenty years that it isn’t going to happen overnight, but how long exactly is it going to take? To that question the advocates of endless intervention have no definite answer. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said in late 2019: “We are never going to get the U.S. military out of Afghanistan unless we take care to see that there is something going on that will provide the stability that will be necessary for us to leave.”

All right, but what’s it going to take? Do Rumsfeld, McConnell, and McCaul really think that after nearly twenty years, one more year, or five more years, or ten more years, will do the job?

Afghanistan will never be a Western-style republic and will likely never be free of the Taliban without a massive transformation of Afghan society, no matter how long we stay, and such a transformation is not on the horizon. This was clear relatively early in the conflict, but the obviousness of this fact did not make successive Republican and Democratic administrations rethink the wisdom of being there.

And so after all this American expenditure of personnel, money, and materiel, there is absolutely no doubt that once we leave, the Taliban will make gains and may even regain control of the Afghan government.

Did that mean that America had to keep troops there for fifty years? A hundred years? Should we just make Afghanistan the fifty-first state and seal our commitment there forever? Or should the U.S. instead focus on what is best for America in Afghanistan, working to contain the jihad there and to ensure that the Taliban does not and cannot engage in international jihad terror activity, while otherwise leaving the Afghans to their own devices?

America’s tragic misadventure in Afghanistan makes it clear that a new foreign policy strategy is urgently needed, and that the ideas and assumptions that have governed U.S. foreign policy for nearly a century needed to be consigned to the dustbin of history. President Trump had proposed to do that. Now we are likely to see instead a retrenchment of the forces that made the tragedy of two decades of war in Afghanistan happen in the first place. President Biden, or President Harris, or President Pelosi, or whatever horror show we may be facing next, could send the troops that Trump withdraws right back into the belly of the beast.

After all, as Trump said last September, “the top people in the Pentagon…want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy. But we’re getting out of the endless wars, you know how we’re doing.” He is getting us out. Others, wanting to keep the Masters of War happy, may get us right back in.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Would AOC Blacklist 73 Million Americans?

Should a qualified employee’s political views determine whether he gets—or keeps—a job? For a growing number of Americans, they already do. As I wrote in an article published recently at American Greatness:

[Last month] a Pennsylvania police chief was forced to retire by his “progressive mayor” after 26 years on the job. His offense? The chief’s wife posted a Facebook message supporting President Donald Trump.

Lancaster Police Chief Jarrad Berkihiser might be the latest victim of cancel culture, but he won’t be the last.

The article was written before the 2020 election. Since then the female African-American police chief of Portsmouth, Virginia, lost her job. The town’s progressive leadership fired Angela Greene after she pressed charges against rioters who decapitated and pulled down a Confederate statue, striking a middle-aged black man in the head. The injury left the man temporarily comatose, caused him to flatline twice as his brain swelled dangerously, and required months of therapy to teach him to walk and talk again. City officials fired Greene on Monday morning, a little more than two months after placing her on paid leave. She said she plans to sue.

Greene will have company in the unemployment line, and not merely because of another round of proposed COVID-19 lockdowns or impending minimum wage hikes. A number of political figures have in effect declared a Bush Doctrine against the Trump administration: They will make no distinction between the 45th president and those who “enable” him. For instance, former Clinton administration Treasury Secretary Robert Reich proposed a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” to discover the names of anyone who helped “enable” the Trump administration.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted support of the Trump Accountability Project, an effort to blacklist “Trump sycophants” to stifle their employment prospects. (After the blacklist backlash, TAP announced last Thursday that “this project will no longer be active.”)

“Employers considering them should know there are consequences for hiring anyone who helped Trump attack American values,” said former Obama campaign spokesman Hari Sevugan, threatening not only Republicans but those who hire Republicans.

Depending on how broadly one wants to define “helped,” this description could encompass 73 million Americans. It could go well beyond Trump administration alumni to include anyone insufficiently supportive of the Great Awokening, and perhaps the whole point is to instill the maximum level of fear in the greatest number of political apostates.

This is alarming. Americans of all political backgrounds should seek to reverse this lamentable trend for several reasons.

First, threatening to lock someone out of “polite society” over run-of-the-mill political differences normalizes discrimination. While some find it more acceptable to discriminate against people based on their beliefs rather than immutable factors such as ethnicity, sex, or gender identity, legitimizing employment bias against any group opens the possibility of bias against every group. Worse, researchers have found that Americans already indulge political animosity “to a degree that exceeds discrimination based on race.”

Second, employment bias denies people the opportunity to share their God-given gifts and talents with others. It deprives their families of an adequate livelihood, entirely out of spite.

But discrimination does not simply hurt those who are discriminated against. It also violates the bigot’s self-interest. Viewpoint discrimination in the workplace denies a firm the most productive talent on the basis of often-irrational biases. That lowers the office’s efficiency, productivity, and ingenuity.

Two researchers, Shanto Iyengar and Sean Westwood, bore this out by conducting an experiment that allowed participants to award scholarships to either the most qualified applicant or a student who shared the same political views. When it came to a time for choosing, they wrote, “partisanship simply trumped academic excellence.” Discriminating against the best and the brightest leaves bigoted firms competing for second place.

Politically prejudiced hiring also harms businesses in another way. One source summarized the late economist Gary S. Becker’s groundbreaking work on the economics of discrimination this way:

Suppose that an employer does not want to employ members of a particular group even though these workers are as productive as any others. If the firm has to pay all workers the same wage it will simply not employ members of the disadvantaged group. However, if it is possible to pay these workers less than those from other groups the firm then faces a trade-off: it can employ members of the disadvantaged group at lower wages and thus increase its profitability, or it can discriminate and employ only workers from the high wage group even though this will mean lower profits. Discrimination in the latter case therefore imposes a cost on the firm.

Finally, if the neo-McCarthyites really believe that President Trump and his supporters are revolutionaries, the last thing they should want is for this group to find itself unemployable, aggrieved, and awash in free time. If they honestly think that job losses make people “cling to guns or religion, or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them,” it would behoove them to see their political enemies busy themselves punching time clocks, creating goods and services, and entangling themselves in the joys of family life. One can only speculate how better employment prospects might have thwarted previous revolutions. What if Adolf Hitler had been a better artist? What if Fidel Castro had been a better baseball player?

For economic as well as philosophical and moral reasons, we should oppose viewpoint discrimination in secular education and employment. As I wrote at American Greatness:

We must stand up for Jarrad Berkihiser. We must demand our right to offend and be offended. We must insist on being judged on the content of our character, not the color of our skin.

Among those rights is the right to be judged on our performance, not our political orthodoxy.

COLUMN BY

Ben Johnson

Rev. Ben Johnson is a senior editor at the Acton Institute. His work focuses on the principles necessary to create a free and virtuous society in the transatlantic sphere (the U.S., Canada, and Europe).

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EDITORTS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Ilhan Omar Quotes ‘Mathew 6:24’ to Claim Christians Can’t Serve in U.S. military

Omar was coming to the support of the radical Leftist Georgia Senate candidate Raphael Warnock, who says explicitly that one cannot serve God and the military in the video embedded in the tweet. While there was a controversy in the early days of Christianity about whether a Christian could serve in the military of the Roman Empire, it was settled centuries ago, and no Christian sect with the exception of the small groups that are strictly pacifist has ever said that it was un-Christian to serve in the U.S. military.

This is yet another indication of where Ilhan Omar’s sentiments truly lie, for were her words heeded and Christians streamed out of the military of this country, our armed forces and the country as a whole would be drastically weakened. Apparently that is what she wants.

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State Department says al-Qaeda is on the ropes, nearly eight years after Obama said it was on the ropes

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister condemns Pompeo’s planned visit to ‘settlement’ as ‘dangerous precedent’

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Possible Cuban regime involvement with US election machines casts doubt on integrity of America’s votes

Reports of Cuban regime funding of tech companies that serviced America’s elections may indicate that foreign intelligence services have manipulated our presidential vote. A possible Chinese connection makes things even worse.

The technologies were created to “manipulate” votes favorable to socialists, according to Sidney Powell, a prominent Washington attorney and member of President Trump’s legal team who has been investigating the problem.

Reports include insider accounts, affidavits, a user manual, news reports, and other information unearthed in a legal investigation into the origin and function of voting technologies by Dominion and Smartmatic in Georgia and other states.

Voting systems used to keep Cuban-backed regime in power

The technologies are of foreign origin, used under Cuban direction in Venezuela as early as 2004. They were “created to produce altered voting results in Venezuela for Hugo Chavez and then shipped internationally to manipulate votes for purchase in other countries, including this one,” Powell told Fox Business News on Friday.

Those systems were used in the entire state of Georgia and across the United States this year.

“It was funded by money from Venezuela and Cuba, and China has a role in it also,” Powell said. “So if you want to talk about foreign election interference, we certainly have it now.”

The former chairwoman of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council, Ana Mercedes Diaz, exposed these operations back in 2013 and produced a copy of Smartmatic’s 2004 contract with the Cuban-backed regime

Scrappy Cuba hits way above its weight

In the world of political warfare and covert operations, Cuba’s Communist regime punches way above its weight. Its survival depends on it. Built as a surrogate for the Soviet KGB, Cuba’s DGI intelligence service was more effective than its creator in doubling our own agents against us, matched only by the exceptionally capable Stasi of East Germany.

But the Stasi is structurally gone and the KGB has been reorganized with its components re-named, while the DGI remains the nervous system, eyes, ears, and hands of the Cuban regime, at home and abroad. And US counterintelligence capabilities and resources range from inadequate and obsolete to disastrous.

Intelligence and subversion are Cuba’s only significant manufactured exports. Regimes like China, Russia, and Venezuela pay Cuba for the services.

Cuba wages HUMINT for the long haul

The scrappy Cuban regime been playing the long game. Many of the young radicals it cultivated in the 1960s and ‘70s have since advanced to positions of influence.

The Weather Underground’s Bill Ayers opened his living room to mentor an aspiring Chicago politician named Barack Obama.

The Black Liberation Army’s Angela Davis, feted personally by Fidel Castro before Cuban-American Senator Marco Rubio was even born, has inspired and mentored generations of radicals who burrowed into the system.

Last June, Davis went on Russia’s RT channel to tell her cadres to hold their noses and back Joe Biden – all while praising cop-killers and singling out Assata Shakur, the nom de guerre of a convicted murderess who has lived for decades in Cuba’s sanctuary.

Cuba had long-term penetration agent in DIA

The DGI penetrated the heart of American military intelligence, with Ana Belen Montes – whom CNN called “the most dangerous US spy you’ve never heard of” – burrowed into the Defense Intelligence Agency for more than 15 years. She was arrested almost 20 years ago. Does anyone think she’s the only Cuban spy to infiltrate the US intelligence community?

This isn’t fringe stuff any more. Joe Biden’s senior most intelligence backer, James Clapper, had sheltered Montes when he ran the DIA. (This is the same Jim Clapper who surreptitiously got passes for Russia’s top GRU military intelligence officers to roam the Pentagon, but accused Donald Trump of colluding with Moscow.)

Biden considered Venceremos Brigade veteran as running mate

Over the summer, Joe Biden actively considered Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) as a semifinalist to run with him as vice president. Seasoned Cuba-watchers consider Bass a Cuban regime asset. She has helped the Cuban regime with its DGI-controlled Venceremos Brigade operation to attract, assess, cultivate, and recruit American militants to work for the Cuban revolution.

The fact that Biden would even consider a trusted Venceremos Brigade veteran to serve as his running suggests that Cuba’s political warfare has advanced deeply into the American system. And it shows the willingness of Biden and his political allies to consider Cuban assets to win an election.

Shared interests

Which brings us back to the Dominion voter machines and related software. Cuba is no cyberpower. But its allies are. For years, Havana has been strengthening its relations with the Chinese Communist Party. Since the 1990s it has provided Beijing with three electronic intelligence bases directed against the United States.

This doesn’t mean that China had direct involvement in the Dominion and Smartmatic technology, though Dominion has acknowledge Chinese-made components in its machines.

Even so, it’s entirely reasonable to be concerned about Cuba’s relationship with China, and about Powell’s reported discovery of a Cuba-China financial nexus behind a high-tech political warfare machine to manipulate voting around the world.

“People need to come forward now and get on the right side of this issue and report the fraud they know existed in Dominion voting systems because that’s what it was created to do. It was its sole original purpose; it has been used all over the world to defy the will of people who wanted freedom,” Powell said.

And may have been used in our own country to defy the will of the American people.

Possible direct attack on the American electoral system

Both the Cuban and Chinese Communist parties have a shared interest in defeating Donald Trump, installing a Biden-Harris administration, and tipping the US Senate to fundamentally transform America.

We know that US military and intelligence agencies will not purchase software or computer hardware from untrustworthy sources like China or Cuba because there is no way to be sure that the computer code in them was not been compromised.

It therefore should be clear that no vote processed through Cuban, Venezuelan or Chinese-connected balloting systems should be used for US elections.

No US election official can be sure vote-counting from such equipment is accurate. And any regime that tried to manipulate American elections should pay.

Meet the Hacker Who Rigged/Hacked Elections

If this:

How to Hack an Election

Andrés Sepúlveda rigged elections throughout Latin America for almost a decade. He tells his story for the first time.
By Jordan Robertson, Michael Riley, and Andrew Willis | Bloomberg March 31, 2016

It was just before midnight when Enrique Peña Nieto declared victory as the newly elected president of Mexico. Peña Nieto was a lawyer and a millionaire, from a family of mayors and governors. His wife was a telenovela star. He beamed as he was showered with red, green, and white confetti at the Mexico City headquarters of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which had ruled for more than 70 years before being forced out in 2000. Returning the party to power on that night in July 2012, Peña Nieto vowed to tame drug violence, fight corruption, and open a more transparent era in Mexican politics.

Two thousand miles away, in an apartment in Bogotá’s upscale Chicó Navarra neighborhood, Andrés Sepúlveda sat before six computer screens. Sepúlveda is Colombian, bricklike, with a shaved head, goatee, and a tattoo of a QR code containing an encryption key on the back of his head. On his nape are the words “</head>” and “<body>” stacked atop each other, dark riffs on coding. He was watching a live feed of Peña Nieto’s victory party, waiting for an official declaration of the results.

When Peña Nieto won, Sepúlveda began destroying evidence. He drilled holes in flash drives, hard drives, and cell phones, fried their circuits in a microwave, then broke them to shards with a hammer. He shredded documents and flushed them down the toilet and erased servers in Russia and Ukraine rented anonymously with Bitcoins. He was dismantling what he says was a secret history of one of the dirtiest Latin American campaigns in recent memory.

For eight years, Sepúlveda, now 31, says he traveled the continent rigging major political campaigns. With a budget of $600,000, the Peña Nieto job was by far his most complex. He led a team of hackers that stole campaign strategies, manipulated social media to create false waves of enthusiasm and derision, and installed spyware in opposition offices, all to help Peña Nieto, a right-of-center candidate, eke out a victory. On that July night, he cracked bottle after bottle of Colón Negra beer in celebration. As usual on election night, he was alone.

Sepúlveda’s career began in 2005, and his first jobs were small—mostly defacing campaign websites and breaking into opponents’ donor databases. Within a few years he was assembling teams that spied, stole, and smeared on behalf of presidential campaigns across Latin America. He wasn’t cheap, but his services were extensive. For $12,000 a month, a customer hired a crew that could hack smartphones, spoof and clone Web pages, and send mass e-mails and texts. The premium package, at $20,000 a month, also included a full range of digital interception, attack, decryption, and defense. The jobs were carefully laundered through layers of middlemen and consultants. Sepúlveda says many of the candidates he helped might not even have known about his role; he says he met only a few.

His teams worked on presidential elections in Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Venezuela. Campaigns mentioned in this story were contacted through former and current spokespeople; none but Mexico’s PRI and the campaign of Guatemala’s National Advancement Party would comment.

As a child, he witnessed the violence of Colombia’s Marxist guerrillas. As an adult, he allied with a right wing emerging across Latin America. He believed his hacking was no more diabolical than the tactics of those he opposed, such as Hugo Chávez and Daniel Ortega.

Many of Sepúlveda’s efforts were unsuccessful, but he has enough wins that he might be able to claim as much influence over the political direction of modern Latin America as anyone in the 21st century. “My job was to do actions of dirty war and psychological operations, black propaganda, rumors—the whole dark side of politics that nobody knows exists but everyone can see,” he says in Spanish, while sitting at a small plastic table in an outdoor courtyard deep within the heavily fortified offices of Colombia’s attorney general’s office. He’s serving 10 years in prison for charges including use of malicious software, conspiracy to commit crime, violation of personal data, and espionage, related to hacking during Colombia’s 2014 presidential election. He has agreed to tell his full story for the first time, hoping to convince the public that he’s rehabilitated—and gather support for a reduced sentence.

Usually, he says, he was on the payroll of Juan José Rendón, a Miami-based political consultant who’s been called the Karl Rove of Latin America. Rendón denies using Sepúlveda for anything illegal, and categorically disputes the account Sepúlveda gave Bloomberg Businessweek of their relationship, but admits knowing him and using him to do website design. “If I talked to him maybe once or twice, it was in a group session about that, about the Web,” he says. “I don’t do illegal stuff at all. There is negative campaigning. They don’t like it—OK. But if it’s legal, I’m gonna do it. I’m not a saint, but I’m not a criminal.” While Sepúlveda’s policy was to destroy all data at the completion of a job, he left some documents with members of his hacking teams and other trusted third parties as a secret “insurance policy.”

Sepúlveda provided Bloomberg Businessweek with what he says are e-mails showing conversations between him, Rendón, and Rendón’s consulting firm concerning hacking and the progress of campaign-related cyber attacks. Rendón says the e-mails are fake. An analysis by an independent computer security firm said a sample of the e-mails they examined appeared authentic. Some of Sepúlveda’s descriptions of his actions match published accounts of events during various election campaigns, but other details couldn’t be independently verified. One person working on the campaign in Mexico, who asked not to be identified out of fear for his safety, substantially confirmed Sepúlveda’s accounts of his and Rendón’s roles in that election.

Sepúlveda says he was offered several political jobs in Spain, which he says he turned down because he was too busy. On the question of whether the U.S. presidential campaign is being tampered with, he is unequivocal. “I’m 100 percent sure it is,” he says.

Sepúlveda grew up poor in Bucaramanga, eight hours north of Bogotá by car. His mother was a secretary. His father was an activist, helping farmers find better crops to grow than coca plants, and the family moved constantly because of death threats from drug traffickers. His parents divorced, and by the age of 15, after failing school, he went to live with his father in Bogotá and used a computer for the first time. He later enrolled in a local technology school and, through a friend there, learned to code.

In 2005, Sepúlveda’s older brother, a publicist, was helping with the congressional campaigns of a party aligned with then-Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Uribe was a hero of the brothers, a U.S. ally who strengthened the military to fight the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). During a visit to party headquarters, Sepúlveda took out his laptop and began scanning the office’s wireless network. He easily tapped into the computer of Rendón, the party’s strategist, and downloaded Uribe’s work schedule and upcoming speeches. Sepúlveda says Rendón was furious—then hired him on the spot. Rendón says this never happened.

For decades, Latin American elections were rigged, not won, and the methods were pretty straightforward. Local fixers would hand out everything from small appliances to cash in exchange for votes. But in the 1990s, electoral reforms swept the region. Voters were issued tamper-proof ID cards, and nonpartisan institutes ran the elections in several countries. The modern campaign, at least a version North Americans might recognize, had arrived in Latin America.

Rendón had already begun a successful career based partly, according to his critics—and more than one lawsuit—on a mastery of dirty tricks and rumormongering. (In 2014, El Salvador’s then-President Carlos Mauricio Funes accused Rendón of orchestrating dirty war campaigns throughout Latin America. Rendón sued in Florida for defamation, but the court dismissed the case on the grounds that Funes couldn’t be sued for his official acts.) The son of democracy activists, he studied psychology and worked in advertising before advising presidential candidates in his native Venezuela. After accusing then-President Chávez of vote rigging in 2004, he left and never went back.

Sepúlveda’s first hacking job, he says, was breaking into an Uribe rival’s website, stealing a database of e-mail addresses, and spamming the accounts with disinformation. He was paid $15,000 in cash for a month’s work, five times as much as he made in his previous job designing websites.

Sepúlveda was dazzled by Rendón, who owned a fleet of luxury cars, wore big flashy watches, and spent thousands on tailored coats. Like Sepúlveda, he was a perfectionist. His staff was expected to arrive early and work late. “I was very young,” Sepúlveda says. “I did what I liked, I was paid well and traveled. It was the perfect job.” But more than anything, their right-wing politics aligned. Sepúlveda says he saw Rendón as a genius and a mentor. A devout Buddhist and practitioner of martial arts, according to his own website, Rendón cultivated an image of mystery and menace, wearing only all-black in public, including the occasional samurai robe. On his website he calls himself the political consultant who is the “best paid, feared the most, attacked the most, and also the most demanded and most efficient.” Sepúlveda would have a hand in that.

Rendón, says Sepúlveda, saw that hackers could be completely integrated into a modern political operation, running attack ads, researching the opposition, and finding ways to suppress a foe’s turnout. As for Sepúlveda, his insight was to understand that voters trusted what they thought were spontaneous expressions of real people on social media more than they did experts on television and in newspapers. He knew that accounts could be faked and social media trends fabricated, all relatively cheaply. He wrote a software program, now called Social Media Predator, to manage and direct a virtual army of fake Twitter accounts. The software let him quickly change names, profile pictures, and biographies to fit any need. Eventually, he discovered, he could manipulate the public debate as easily as moving pieces on a chessboard—or, as he puts it, “When I realized that people believe what the Internet says more than reality, I discovered that I had the power to make people believe almost anything.”

According to Sepúlveda, his payments were made in cash, half upfront. When he traveled, he used a fake passport and stayed alone in a hotel, far from campaign staff. No one could bring a smartphone or camera into his room.

Most jobs were initiated in person. Sepúlveda says Rendón would give him a piece of paper with target names, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers. Sepúlveda would take the note to his hotel, enter the data into an encrypted file, then burn the page or flush it down the toilet. If Rendón needed to send an e-mail, he used coded language. To “caress” meant to attack; to “listen to music” meant to intercept a target’s phone calls.

Rendón and Sepúlveda took pains not to be seen together. They communicated over encrypted phones, which they replaced every two months. Sepúlveda says he sent daily progress reports and intelligence briefings from throwaway e-mail accounts to a go-between in Rendón’s consulting firm.

Each job ended with a specific, color-coded destruct sequence. On election day, Sepúlveda would purge all data classified as “red.” Those were files that could send him and his handlers to prison: intercepted phone calls and e-mails, lists of hacking victims, and confidential briefings he prepared for the campaigns. All phones, hard drives, flash drives, and computer servers were physically destroyed. Less-sensitive “yellow” data—travel schedules, salary spreadsheets, fundraising plans—were saved to an encrypted thumb drive and given to the campaigns for one final review. A week later it, too, would be destroyed.

For most jobs, Sepúlveda assembled a crew and operated out of rental homes and apartments in Bogotá. He had a rotating group of 7 to 15 hackers brought in from across Latin America, drawing on the various regions’ specialties. Brazilians, in his view, develop the best malware. Venezuelans and Ecuadoreans are superb at scanning systems and software for vulnerabilities. Argentines are mobile intercept artists. Mexicans are masterly hackers in general but talk too much. Sepúlveda used them only in emergencies.

The assignments lasted anywhere from a few days to several months. In Honduras, Sepúlveda defended the communications and computer systems of presidential candidate Porfirio Lobo Sosa from hackers employed by his competitors. In Guatemala, he digitally eavesdropped on six political and business figures, and says he delivered the data to Rendón on encrypted flash drives at dead drops. (Sepúlveda says it was a small job for a client of Rendón’s who has ties to the right-wing National Advancement Party, or PAN. The PAN says it never hired Rendón and has no knowledge of any of his claimed activities.) In Nicaragua in 2011, Sepúlveda attacked Ortega, who was running for his third presidential term. In one of the rare jobs in which he was working for a client other than Rendón, he broke into the e-mail account of Rosario Murillo, Ortega’s wife and the government’s chief spokeswoman, and stole a trove of personal and government secrets.

In Venezuela in 2012, the team abandoned its usual caution, animated by disgust with Chávez. With Chávez running for his fourth term, Sepúlveda posted an anonymized YouTube clip of himself rifling through the e-mail of one of the most powerful people in Venezuela, Diosdado Cabello, then president of the National Assembly. He also went outside his tight circle of trusted hackers and rallied Anonymous, the hacktivist group, to attack Chávez’s website.

After Sepúlveda hacked Cabello’s Twitter account, Rendón seemed to congratulate him. “Eres noticia :)”—you’re news—he wrote in a Sept. 9, 2012, e-mail, linking to a story about the breach. (Rendón says he never sent such an e-mail.) Sepúlveda provided screen shots of a dozen e-mails, and many of the original e-mails, showing that from November 2011 to September 2012 Sepúlveda sent long lists of government websites he hacked for various campaigns to a senior member of Rendón’s consulting firm, lacing them with hacker slang (“Owned!” read one). Two weeks before Venezuela’s presidential election, Sepúlveda sent screen shots showing how he’d hacked Chávez’s website and could turn it on and off at will.

Chávez won but died five months later of cancer, triggering an emergency election, won by Nicolás Maduro. The day before Maduro claimed victory, Sepúlveda hacked his Twitter account and posted allegations of election fraud. Blaming “conspiracy hackings from abroad,” the government of Venezuela disabled the Internet across the entire country for 20 minutes.

In Mexico, Sepúlveda’s technical mastery and Rendón’s grand vision for a ruthless political machine fully came together, fueled by the huge resources of the PRI. The years under President Felipe Calderón and the National Action Party (also, as in Partido Acción Nacional, PAN) were plagued by a grinding war against the drug cartels, which made kidnappings, street assassinations, and beheadings ordinary. As 2012 approached, the PRI offered the youthful energy of Peña Nieto, who’d just finished a successful term as governor.

Sepúlveda didn’t like the idea of working in Mexico, a dangerous country for involvement in public life. But Rendón persuaded him to travel there for short trips, starting in 2008, often flying him in on his private jet. Working at one point in Tabasco, on the sweltering Gulf of Mexico, Sepúlveda hacked a political boss who turned out to have connections to a drug cartel. After Rendón’s security team learned of a plan to kill Sepúlveda, he spent a night in an armored Chevy Suburban before returning to Mexico City.

Mexico is effectively a three-party system, and Peña Nieto faced opponents from both right and left. On the right, the ruling PAN nominated Josefina Vázquez Mota, its first female presidential candidate. On the left, the Democratic Revolution Party, or PRD, chose Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor.

Early polls showed Peña Nieto 20 points ahead, but his supporters weren’t taking chances. Sepúlveda’s team installed malware in routers in the headquarters of the PRD candidate, which let him tap the phones and computers of anyone using the network, including the candidate. He took similar steps against PAN’s Vázquez Mota. When the candidates’ teams prepared policy speeches, Sepúlveda had the details as soon as a speechwriter’s fingers hit the keyboard. Sepúlveda saw the opponents’ upcoming meetings and campaign schedules before their own teams did.

Money was no problem. At one point, Sepúlveda spent $50,000 on high-end Russian software that made quick work of tapping Apple, BlackBerry, and Android phones. He also splurged on the very best fake Twitter profiles; they’d been maintained for at least a year, giving them a patina of believability.

Sepúlveda managed thousands of such fake profiles and used the accounts to shape discussion around topics such as Peña Nieto’s plan to end drug violence, priming the social media pump with views that real users would mimic. For less nuanced work, he had a larger army of 30,000 Twitter bots, automatic posters that could create trends. One conversation he started stoked fear that the more López Obrador rose in the polls, the lower the peso would sink. Sepúlveda knew the currency issue was a major vulnerability; he’d read it in the candidate’s own internal staff memos.

Just about anything the digital dark arts could offer to Peña Nieto’s campaign or important local allies, Sepúlveda and his team provided. On election night, he had computers call tens of thousands of voters with prerecorded phone messages at 3 a.m. in the critical swing state of Jalisco. The calls appeared to come from the campaign of popular left-wing gubernatorial candidate Enrique Alfaro Ramírez. That angered voters—that was the point—and Alfaro lost by a slim margin. In another governor’s race, in Tabasco, Sepúlveda set up fake Facebook accounts of gay men claiming to back a conservative Catholic candidate representing the PAN, a stunt designed to alienate his base. “I always suspected something was off,” the candidate, Gerardo Priego, said recently when told how Sepúlveda’s team manipulated social media in the campaign.

In May, Peña Nieto visited Mexico City’s Ibero-American University and was bombarded by angry chants and boos from students. The rattled candidate retreated with his bodyguards into an adjacent building, hiding, according to some social media posts, in a bathroom. The images were a disaster. López Obrador soared.

The PRI was able to recover after one of López Obrador’s consultants was caught on tape asking businessmen for $6 million to fund his candidate’s broke campaign, in possible violation of Mexican laws. Although the hacker says he doesn’t know the origin of that particular recording, Sepúlveda and his team had been intercepting the communications of the consultant, Luis Costa Bonino, for months. (On Feb. 2, 2012, Rendón appears to have sent him three e-mail addresses and a cell phone number belonging to Costa Bonino in an e-mail called “Job.”) Sepúlveda’s team disabled the consultant’s personal website and directed journalists to a clone site. There they posted what looked like a long defense written by Costa Bonino, which casually raised questions about whether his Uruguayan roots violated Mexican restrictions on foreigners in elections. Costa Bonino left the campaign a few days later. He indicated recently that he knew he was being spied on, he just didn’t know how. It goes with the trade in Latin America: “Having a phone hacked by the opposition is not a novelty. When I work on a campaign, the assumption is that everything I talk about on the phone will be heard by the opponents.”

The press office for Peña Nieto declined to comment. A spokesman for the PRI said the party has no knowledge of Rendón working for Peña Nieto’s or any other PRI campaign. Rendón says he has worked on behalf of PRI candidates in Mexico for 16 years, from August 2000 until today.

In 2012, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Uribe’s successor, unexpectedly restarted peace talks with the FARC, hoping to end a 50-year war. Furious, Uribe, whose father was killed by FARC guerrillas, created a party and backed an alternative candidate, Oscar Iván Zuluaga, who opposed the talks.

Rendón, who was working for Santos, wanted Sepúlveda to join his team, but Sepúlveda turned him down. He considered Rendón’s willingness to work for a candidate supporting peace with the FARC a betrayal and suspected the consultant was going soft, choosing money over principles. Sepúlveda says he was motivated by ideology first and money second, and that if he wanted to get rich he could have made a lot more hacking financial systems than elections. For the first time, he decided to oppose his mentor.

Sepúlveda went to work for the opposition, reporting directly to Zuluaga’s campaign manager, Luis Alfonso Hoyos. (Zuluaga denies any knowledge of hacking; Hoyos couldn’t be reached for comment.) Together, Sepúlveda says, they came up with a plan to discredit the president by showing that the guerrillas continued to traffic in drugs and violence even as they talked about peace. Within months, Sepúlveda hacked the phones and e-mail accounts of more than 100 militants, including the FARC’s leader, Rodrigo Londoño, also known as Timochenko. After assembling a thick file on the FARC, including evidence of the group’s suppression of peasant votes in the countryside, Sepúlveda agreed to accompany Hoyos to the offices of a Bogotá TV news program and present the evidence.

It may not have been wise to work so doggedly and publicly against a party in power. A month later, Sepúlveda was smoking on the terrace of his Bogotá office when he saw a caravan of police vehicles pull up. Forty black-clad commandos raided the office to arrest him. Sepúlveda blamed his carelessness at the TV station for the arrest. He believes someone there turned him in. In court, he wore a bulletproof vest and sat surrounded by guards with bomb shields. In the back of the courtroom, men held up pictures of his family, making a slashing gesture across their throats or holding a hand over their mouths—stay silent or else. Abandoned by former allies, he eventually pleaded guilty to espionage, hacking, and other crimes in exchange for a 10-year sentence.

Three days after arriving at Bogotá’s La Picota prison, he went to the dentist and was ambushed by men with knives and razors, but was saved by guards. A week later, guards woke him and rushed him from his cell, saying they had heard about a plot to shoot him with a silenced pistol as he slept. After national police intercepted phone calls revealing yet another plot, he’s now in solitary confinement at a maximum-security facility in a rundown area of central Bogotá. He sleeps with a bulletproof blanket and vest at his bedside, behind bombproof doors. Guards check on him every hour. As part of his plea deal, he says, he’s turned government witness, helping investigators assess possible cases against the former candidate, Zuluaga, and his strategist, Hoyos. Authorities issued an indictment for the arrest of Hoyos, but according to Colombian press reports he’s fled to Miami.

When Sepúlveda leaves for meetings with prosecutors at the Bunker, the attorney general’s Bogotá headquarters, he travels in an armed caravan including six motorcycles speeding through the capital at 60 mph, jamming cell phone signals as they go to block tracking of his movements or detonation of roadside bombs.

In July 2015, Sepúlveda sat in the small courtyard of the Bunker, poured himself a cup of coffee from a thermos, and took out a pack of Marlboro cigarettes. He says he wants to tell his story because the public doesn’t grasp the power hackers exert over modern elections or the specialized skills needed to stop them. “I worked with presidents, public figures with great power, and did many things with absolutely no regrets because I did it with full conviction and under a clear objective, to end dictatorship and socialist governments in Latin America,” he says. “I have always said that there are two types of politics—what people see and what really makes things happen. I worked in politics that are not seen.”

Sepúlveda says he’s allowed a computer and a monitored Internet connection as part of an agreement to help the attorney general’s office track and disrupt drug cartels using a version of his Social Media Predator software. The government will not confirm or deny that he has access to a computer, or what he’s using it for. He says he has modified Social Media Predator to counteract the kind of sabotage he used to specialize in, including jamming candidates’ Facebook walls and Twitter feeds. He’s used it to scan 700,000 tweets from pro-Islamic State accounts to learn what makes a good terror recruiter. Sepúlveda says the program has been able to identify ISIS recruiters minutes after they create Twitter accounts and start posting, and he hopes to share the information with the U.S. or other countries fighting the Islamist group. Samples of Sepúlveda’s code evaluated by an independent company found it authentic and substantially original.

Sepúlveda’s contention that operations like his happen on every continent is plausible, says David Maynor, who runs a security testing company in Atlanta called Errata Security. Maynor says he occasionally gets inquiries for campaign-related jobs. His company has been asked to obtain e-mails and other documents from candidates’ computers and phones, though the ultimate client is never disclosed. “Those activities do happen in the U.S., and they happen all the time,” he says.

In one case, Maynor was asked to steal data as a security test, but the individual couldn’t show an actual connection to the campaign whose security he wanted to test. In another, a potential client asked for a detailed briefing on how a candidate’s movements could be tracked by switching out the user’s iPhone for a bugged clone. “For obvious reasons, we always turned them down,” says Maynor, who declines to name the candidates involved.

Three weeks before Sepúlveda’s arrest, Rendón was forced to resign from Santos’s campaign amid allegations in the press that he took $12 million from drug traffickers and passed part of it on to the candidate, something he denies.

According to Rendón, Colombian officials interviewed him shortly afterward in Miami, where he keeps a home. Rendón says that Colombian investigators asked him about Sepúlveda and that he told them Sepúlveda’s role was limited to Web development.

Rendón denies working with Sepúlveda in any meaningful capacity. “He says he worked with me in 20 places, and the truth is he didn’t,” Rendón says. “I never paid Andrés Sepúlveda a peso.”

Last year, based on anonymous sources, the Colombian media reported that Rendón was working for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Rendón calls the reports untrue. The campaign did approach him, he says, but he turned them down because he dislikes Trump. “To my knowledge we are not familiar with this individual,” says Trump’s spokeswoman, Hope Hicks. “I have never heard of him, and the same goes for other senior staff members.” But Rendón says he’s in talks with another leading U.S. presidential campaign—he wouldn’t say which—to begin working for it once the primaries wrap up and the general election begins.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Here We Go: Swamp Rats Start Laying the Groundwork for Sending U.S. Troops Into Syria

If Donald Trump doesn’t take the Oath of Office on January 20, 2021, one principal but little-noted reason for this may be that he crossed one of the most powerful and least accountable forces in the nation: the military-industrial complex. As Trump said last September, “the top people in the Pentagon…want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy. But we’re getting out of the endless wars, you know how we’re doing.” Now, however, that Joe Biden has been anointed “President-elect” by the establishment media, the propaganda is already starting to get us back into one of those endless wars, in Syria.

We learned just recently that we never really left Syria in the first place. As Victoria Taft noted at PJ Media Friday, President Trump’s former special envoy for Syria, Never-Trumper Jim Jeffrey, has boasted that he circumvented Trump’s orders to withdraw American troops from Syria by lying to the president. Jeffrey explained: “We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there,” and “the actual number of troops in northeast Syria is ‘a lot more than’ the roughly two hundred troops Trump initially agreed to leave there in 2019.”

What the Masters of War have in mind, however, is a far greater commitment of American troops than even Jeffrey’s shell game allows for. After all, how else are they going to keep happy “all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes”? There’s money to be made even in the devastated hellscape that is Syria after nearly a decade of civil war, and so our moral superiors are starting to beat the drums of war in Syria once again in order to ensure that President Biden, if such a nightmare comes true, commits enough American troops to keep that money flowing into the right pockets.

And so the Associated Press reminded us Sunday (in an article that was reprinted in the Huffington Post, which indicates an effort to make sure the far-Left will be on board) that “a half century after Hafez Assad launched a bloodless coup in Syria, his family still rules the country.” AP quoted English swamp creature Neil Quilliam of Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa program: “There can be no doubt that 50 years of Assad family rule, which has been ruthless, cruel and self-defeating, has left the country what can only be described as broken, failed and almost forgotten.”

The obvious subtext here is that we must remember Assad’s oppression, and not just remember, but act. “As U.S. election results rolled in,” AP intoned, “showing Joe Biden the winner, memes by Syrian opposition trolls mocked how the Assads have now outlasted nine American presidents since Richard Nixon.”

Oh no! Mockery from trolls! AP is essentially saying, You’re not going to stand for that, are you, you racist, redneck yahoos? We have to go into Syria, and pronto, in a big way, to avenge America’s honor!

AP was not alone. The U.S. Embassy in Syria, no doubt a particularly fetid corner of the swamp, tweeted Sunday: “Russia and the Syrian regime hosted the so-called International Conference on Refugees. Conference staff left their microphones on during a live broadcast, they exposed the lies of the Assad regime by stating that Syrians would rather flee the country than return to it.” That followed a tweet Thursday by Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch: “Why are so few refugees willing to risk returning to Syria? Well, fear of being detained, tortured, and executed plays a big role. But rather than empty his nightmarish prisons, Syria’s Assad blames Western sanctions.”

And on Monday, when Syria’s foreign minister Walid al-Moalem died, Reuters’ obituary stated in its lead paragraph that al-Moalem was an “unyielding defender of Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s bloody crackdown on peaceful protesters that sparked a decade-old conflict.” Reuters did deign to inform us later on in the article, in sneering tones, that al-Moalem “labeled insurgents ‘jihadi terrorists,’” without bothering to note that he was correct.

They behaved like jihad terrorists: in July 2013, U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army fighters entered the Christian village of Oum Sharshouh and began burning down houses and terrorizing the population, forcing 250 Christian families to flee the area. Then in September 2013, a day after then-Secretary of State John Kerry praised the Free Syrian Army as “a real moderate opposition,” the FSA took to the Internet to post videos of its attack on the ancient Syrian Christian city of Maaloula. And the New York Times reported in August 2014 about “a combined operation involving fighters from the Free Syrian Army, the Nusra Front and ISIS.” That is, jihad terrorists.

Assad is, without any doubt, a scoundrel. But as his undeniable evils begin to preoccupy the media anew, it is useful to ask cui bono. Who benefits? There are oppressive rulers all over the world; why is Assad once again the focus of all this negative attention? The answer is clear enough: toppling Assad is a bit of unfinished business left over from the Obama administration. Now that it looks as if the messianic internationalists are going to be back in the saddle again, they’re ready to resume working to “make the world safe for democracy,” as their messianic internationalist forbear Woodrow Wilson put it, and to remake the globe in accordance with their smug and miseducated sense of the way things ought to be.

And if, along the way, a few friends make a bit of money, what could be wrong with that? The world’s policeman is back on the beat, heedless once again of the spiraling risks of interventionism, and that guarantees that the weaponry will continue to be needed, and the money will keep on flowing. So tell us more, AP, Reuters, and friends, about just how bad this Assad chap is, and why it is up to the United States to do something about it militarily. You’ll no doubt manage to fool millions yet again.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

President Trump Fires DHS Cybersecurity Chief Chris Krebs

Could this Kreb clown been more incompetent? Or worse, complicit?

Trump says DHS cybersecurity chief Chris Krebs has been terminated

By: Amanda Macias, CNBC, November 17, 2020:

President Donald Trump announced Tuesday on Twitter that he has “terminated” top U.S. cybersecurity official Christopher Krebs. In a pair of tweets, Trump said that Krebs gave a “highly inaccurate” statement about the security of the 2020 presidential election.

‘Krebs, who heads the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, is the latest Trump administration official to depart on the heels of the election.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced Tuesday on Twitter that he has “terminated” top U.S. cybersecurity official Christopher Krebs.

In a pair of tweets, Trump said that Krebs gave a “highly inaccurate” statement about the security of the 2020 presidential election. Trump, who has not yet conceded to president-elect Joe Biden, alleged that there were “massive improprieties and fraud.”

Twitter labeled the president’s tweets with a warning citing the claim about election fraud is disputed.

Krebs, who heads the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, has previously said that there is no evidence that the elections were compromised by foreign interference.

Read more: No signs of hacks on computers used to record and tally votes, says top U.S. election protection official

Earlier on Tuesday, Krebs tweeted from his government account, “On allegations that election systems were manipulated, 59 election security experts all agree, “in every case of which we are aware, these claims either have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent.”

Less than an hour after Trump tweeted about his firing, Krebs wrote from his personal Twitter account that he was “honored to serve.”

He is the latest Trump administration official to depart on the heels of the election.

Last week, Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper via Twitter and replaced him with Christopher Miller, director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

On the heels of Esper’s removal, a Trump administration official told CNBC’s Eamon Javers that “I assume FBI and CIA are next,” referring to FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The latest revelation comes as Trump has rejected the results of the U.S. presidential election. Other top administration officials, such as Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have publicly insisted that the election is not over.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Trump to order significant troop cuts in Afghanistan and Iraq

This is long overdue and is simple common sense: are we going to stay in Afghanistan and Iraq forever? McConnell and McCaul are completely out of touch. It is not the responsibility of the United States to ensure that other nations have good governments. It is the responsibility of the United States to defend itself from foreign threats. We can do that without having troops on the ground in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Rep. Michael McCaul, Republican leader on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said of the plans for Afghanistan, “We need to ensure a residual force is maintained for the foreseeable future to protect U.S. national and homeland security interests and to help secure peace for Afghanistan.”

“AP sources: Trump to order troop cuts in Afghanistan, Iraq,” by Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press, November 16, 2020:

President Donald Trump is expected to cut a significant number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and a smaller number in Iraq by the final days of his presidency, U.S. officials said Monday. The plan would run counter to military commanders’ advice over the past year, while still falling short of Trump’s much-touted goal to end America’s long wars.

The decision comes just days after Trump installed a new slate of loyalists in top Pentagon positions who share his frustration with the continued troop presence in the war zones. But the expected plans would leave 2,500 troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan, meaning that President-elect Joe Biden would be the fourth president to grapple with the still-smoldering conflicts launched in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

U.S. officials said military leaders were told over the weekend about the planned withdrawals and that an executive order is in the works but has not yet been delivered to commanders. Officials cautioned that there could always be changes, and Trump is known to make snap decisions based on media reports and online chatter. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

There are 4,500 to 5,000 troops in Afghanistan and more than 3,000 in Iraq.

As news broke about the plan, Republican leaders on Capitol Hill issued stark warnings about making any hasty exit from Afghanistan that could jeopardize the peace process and undermine counterterrorism efforts.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Trump administration has made tremendous headway against terrorist threats, but warned against a potentially “humiliating” pullout from Afghanistan that he said would be worse than President Barack Obama’s 2011 withdrawal from Iraq and reminiscent of the U.S. departure from Saigon in 1975.

Rep. Michael McCaul, Republican leader on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said of the plans for Afghanistan, “We need to ensure a residual force is maintained for the foreseeable future to protect U.S. national and homeland security interests and to help secure peace for Afghanistan.”

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

United States European Command Conducted The Operation To Take Control of Computer Servers in Germany

Pompeo knows. It’s why he promised a ‘smooth transition’ to the second Trump Administration.

The expert who shared the following intel worked at the State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism (now it is the Bureau of Counter Terrorism) and spen twenty two years scripting terrorism exercises for U.S. military special operations.

Unraveling the Latest Deep State Coup

The courageous, brilliant duo of Sidney Powell and Congressman Louis Gohmert stirred up a bit of a storm in the last few days with this tweet

By: Larry Johnson, November 16, 2020:

When I saw this it did not make sense. Let me explain. I spent four years working at State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism (now it is the Bureau of Counter Terrorism). I was one of two officers who dealt directly with the FBI in the investigation of the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103. I learned through this experience that US law enforcement cannot operate in other countries without the permission of those countries.

I also spent 22 years scripting terrorism exercises for U.S. military special operations. My job was to replicate State Department and Embassy communications that would occur during a terrorist crisis. So, I have a lot of experience in working real world with US law enforcement, US military and our Embassies in sorting out the issues that arise when the United States wants to pursue a law enforcement or military operation in a foreign country.

The U.S. Army did not conduct a raid in Germany on either Sctyl or Dominion offices or servers. They are foreign nationals and we must operate in accordance with German law. Moreover, the U.S. Army does not have law enforcement powers with respect to such entities.

So what happened? I am reliably informed that a unit under the command of USEUCOM (i.e., United States European Command) did in fact conduct an operation to take control of computer servers. But these servers belong to the CIA, not Dominion or Sctyl. The U.S. military has full authority to do this because any CIA activity in the European theater is being conducted using military cover. In other words, CIA officers would be identified to the German government (and anyone else asking) as military employees or consultants.

Such an operation would have been carried out with U.S. law enforcement present to take custody of the evidence. That means that the evidence will be under the control of the Department of Justice through US Attorneys and can be used in court or other judicial proceedings.

This is not the first time that a military unit attached to EUCOM has compelled a CIA computer facility to hand over evidence. A dear friend of mine (a retired DEA officer) told me about an incident where he entered a CIA facility in Frankfurt backed up by the US Army to get info the CIA was withholding (this took place in the 1980s).

I also have confirmed what Jim Hoft reported the other night–the CIA’s Gina Haspel was not informed in advance of this operation. Based on this fact, I think it is correct that action was taken in Germany on territory under U.S. control and that a CIA facility was targeted.

I also have learned that FBI Director Christopher Wray was excluded from this operation. Wray, more than Haspel, has been working aggressively to undermine and sabotage Donald Trump. This means that some other U.S. law enforcement agency (e.g., US Marshals, DEA, Secret Service, etc) had the lead in collecting the evidence.

Sidney Powell is a serious lawyer. She is not going to make a false claim. Period. She embodies honesty and integrity. Given her recent statements on Maria Bartoromo and Lou Dobbs and Eric Bolling, she clearly knows that evidence is being collected that will prove beyond reasonable doubt (i.e., the type of evidence required to obtain a criminal conviction) that the CIA had some sort of nefarious relationship with Dominion Software and that Dominion Software was being used abroad and in the United States to conduct voter fraud.

I fully expect CIA officials to argue they had no idea that Dominion was engaged in such nefarious activity. Their denial carries as much weight as the claim by Captain Louis Renault in the iconic scene in Casablanca:

Capt. Louis Renault: I am shocked, shocked that there is gambling going on in here.

Waiter: Sir here are your winnings

The coup attempt to dethrone Donald Trump continues.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.